Eeyore or Mr. Roarke???
When your clients think of you in which category would they classify you? Eeyore or Mr. Roarke? Of course, those aren’t the only two choices, but they are definitely great visuals. As a frame of reference, Eeyore is known for having that glass is half empty, negative, dark cloud reputation. In my mind, he is more of an energy leach than he is someone with whom you can rely upon to fill your tank.
Mr. Roarke (brought to life by Ricardo Montalban in Fantasy Island) conjures just the opposite image and feeling. Consistently throwing his arms wide open and sharing a huge smile, his warmth and generosity are apparent even before he utters the first word. Then when he speaks, he has a welcoming, positive and encouraging message given in a calm and relaxing tone. He makes you content in the time you have with him and look forward to your next visit.
The Mr. Roarke-style has at its foundation the principles defined by authors Ronald M. Shapiro and James Dale in their book The Power of Nice:
• Positive impressions are like seeds
• Never burn a bridge
• Nice must be automatic and genuine
• Negative impressions are like germs
• The most influential person in the room may be the most poorly dressed
• Never ask for anything in the initial contact
• Always offer to be a resource to them
• Always do good
In application to Business Development, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that clients would much prefer to work with “Mr. Roarke”-type personalities than with Eeyores.
So which do you want to be known for? Studies have shown that a relationship built upon trust must exist before credentials mean anything.
Harvard Business Professor and Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy summarizes it this way: “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative. A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong, elicits admiration but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”
Our old habit inclination is to do just the opposite; to tell them all about our years of experience and technical expertise before the relationship is nurtured and developed. For greater success, when you are attempting to connect with a new prospect, you have to lead with your emotional intelligence (and soft skills) and only then follow through with your tangible proof (i.e., features, benefits, etc.)
In his article The Science of Why, Simon Sinek breaks down how we make decisions from a naturally-engrained, biological function — the limbic versus the neocortex-influenced portions of our brains. It’s the rationale for the gut feeling/hard to explain decisions rather than the hard facts justified decisions. As Sinek explains: “We can learn, however, to put words to those feelings. And those who do are the ones who are better able to inspire action in themselves, among their colleagues and with their customers.”
If you’d like to discuss this topic or other BD Strategies further, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.